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Jpn J Cancer Res. 1996 Oct;87(10):1011-24.

Screening for colorectal cancer by immunochemical fecal occult blood testing.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, Hirosaki University School of Medicine, Japan.


Screening for colorectal cancer using the conventional Hemoccult test has been shown to reduce mortality associated with cancer by 33% through a randomized controlled trial. However, the magnitude of effectiveness is small in terms of cost-effectiveness. The recently developed immunochemical fecal occult blood test (IFOBT) provides a potential replacement for the Hemoccult test as a screening test, due to its superior performance characteristics such as higher sensitivity shown in preliminary studies and the fact that it does not require any dietary restriction. The IFOBT method is reviewed, especially in relation to its specificity. In known colorectal cancer subjects, IFOBTs have shown both higher sensitivity and specificity than the Hemoccult test. Similarly, IFOBT has demonstrated a higher sensitivity than Hemoccult for colorectal cancer in an asymptomatic population. A nationwide screening program in Japan has demonstrated the feasibility of this approach for large population screening. However, the positivity rate varied according to the conditions at each screening facility. Therefore, technical factors that influence the positivity rate of IFOBTs in the screening program are discussed. Case-control studies have strongly suggested that screening using IFOBT would reduce mortality from colorectal cancer by 60% or more. Several observational studies have provided support for this estimate. The feasibility and effectiveness of population-based screening by IFOBT are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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